This I Believe
When I was a kid, I had the most amazing adventures. In the pool, I was a mermaid. At Christmastime, I dressed up as Santa Claus and used chairs as my reindeer and a plastic stool as my sleigh. I was a princess every year for Halloween, but some years I wanted to be a pirate. I wanted to play pee-wee soccer and the Olympics were (and still are) just about my favorite thing in the world. I wrapped myself in books and did well in school. But it was the real adventures I had that defined my childhood. My weekends were spent camping, hiking, skiing, sledding, swimming, learning how to sail, playing. My little brother Mark and I thrived everywhere our parents took us. Our enthusiasm was contagious and we were so full of joy that I’m surprised we didn’t burst. During the summers we played on our swing set and ran around at dusk playing tag with the neighbor kids in the three backyards connected to ours. We ate pomegranates and watermelons until our fingers were pink and pruny and we spat the seeds into the long, green grass in which our little toes got tangled. We went on the most wonderful vacations, once to Canada, usually to San Diego or San Francisco, where we soaked up happiness like we were swimming in it. We learned how to boogie board and whenever we would go to the beach, I would get sand all up my one-piece swimsuit. We went to Disneyland so many times that I can’t count them anymore and we went on a three-week camping trip to California during which we saw everything, read the entire Hobbit book aloud, and were happy in that I don’t think that my brother or I showered once. When I was a kid, my parents weren’t rich, but they made sure that being a kid was thrilling and delightful. I can’t thank them enough for it, because my childhood is one thing that I can hold on to and remember as an exceptionally merry, joyous, and blissful time. I know that not all of it was happy, but the overwhelming majority of it was pure happiness, because even when we weren’t doing something fabulous, we were imagining and playing. Most of all, we were happy because we were loved. I remember so enjoying being with my cousins and my aunts and my uncles the best because they were the best of friends. We played together on every holiday and were fed the most decadent things by our aunts and were so deliciously happy that I liked nothing better than seeing my family and just being with them. When I was a kid, I found great joy in my world each and every day, and this I believe: my childhood was one of the most delightful gifts I ever could have received, because in every picture and memory I have of myself as a child, I am smiling.
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